When you’re in the market to buy a home, having several prospective homes to choose from can be amazing—unless you’re in a seller’s market and there are too many options. With dozens of homes vying for attention, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd and win your dream home. These tips will help you get noticed and make sure you get the house you want, regardless of whether or not there are 10 other offers on the table.
How to find the right place
In a hot real estate market, finding just one place you like can be difficult. That’s why it’s important to narrow down your search as much as possible; for example, rather than looking for the perfect home when house-hunting, look for homes that are move-in ready.
Be willing to compromise—and remember that compromises don’t always have to mean settling for something you dislike. Even if there are some features you don’t love, if everything else about it is good (price tag aside), perhaps consider setting aside those things and ask yourself whether there’s another home out there with those same bad traits but without any good ones instead. It might seem impossible, but it’s worth a shot! You never know what will happen until you try.
How do you make an offer?
So you want to make an offer on a home. You’ve put together your list of pros and cons, made sure your credit is up-to-date, gathered up your earnest money deposit, and chosen your closing date.
The last thing you want is for all that hard work to go down the drain because you don’t follow protocol or have a feel for what winning means in today’s hot real estate market. Here are some tips on how not to end up at square one when making an offer: Get Pre-Approved: Before you even start looking at homes (that way you can spend as much time as possible actually looking around), get pre-approved by an experienced realtor who has plenty of options available. This will give you leverage over other buyers and show sellers that you’re serious about getting into their neighborhood.
Find out if there are any hot properties coming on the market soon: If there’s a hot property coming onto the market soon, it may be worth waiting until it comes on so you can make an offer before anyone else gets wind of it. In hot markets like, where inventory is low but demand is high, timing could be everything. Set your budget first: Make sure you know exactly how much house you can afford before setting foot in any open houses or meeting with any realtors.
Understanding inspection reports
The best way to avoid bidding on properties that need expensive repairs is to have an inspector examine them before you bid.
There are lots of great resources online that can help you read inspection reports, but it’s usually safe enough just to pay attention to any big-ticket issues. For example, if you see mold on walls or ceilings, peeling paint, or gaps larger than an inch around windows or door frames, those are all red flags.
When you’re buying a home in a hot real estate market (as many people do), remember: investing in these fixes could save you money down the road—and could even make your house more appealing when it comes time for sale.
Negotiating with your realtor
If you’re outbid, there are still options. First, ask for another round of negotiation—but don’t push too hard or you’ll look desperate. If that doesn’t work, decide whether waiting is your best option or if you should look for an alternative.
You can also try negotiating with other sellers who might be willing to sell quickly. Just remember that your dream home might not fall into your lap—or within your budget—at first; persistence and patience will pay off sooner or later!
If you’re buying a home, you’ll also need to factor in what are called closing costs—the fees associated with processing your loan. Some lenders may include these fees as part of your loan, others may not. Keep an eye out for these fees when shopping around for a lender, so you don’t end up paying more than expected.
On average, expect to pay between $500-$3,000 at closing. If you can get someone else on your side (like your real estate agent), they can help keep track of all these fees so you know exactly what you have left over after closing on your home.
Picking your closing date
This is where you’ll begin negotiating. While some buyers might want their offer accepted as soon as possible, it can actually work to your advantage if you can wait until after an inspection (which you’ll hopefully have lined up prior to submitting your offer).
This way, if there are any issues with your potential new home—and even if there aren’t—you can use them as leverage for getting a better deal on price. That said, once you decide on a final closing date, be prepared: Offer too late, and you could lose out on your dream home; offer too early, and risk having it get snapped up by another buyer before your offer has been officially accepted. So when should you submit?
If possible, give yourself at least one week between making an offer and your desired closing date. If that doesn’t work for you, don’t let that stop you from submitting an offer anyway—but do make sure you negotiate hard so that they know they need to act fast if they want to accept it.
Dealing with offers from other buyers
If you’re trying to buy your first home, but there’s no inventory left, what can you do? Well, if another buyer has already made an offer on your dream home, it may seem like there’s nothing you can do. But that’s not exactly true.
Depending on where you live, multiple offers aren’t unusual—in fact they happen with some regularity. If your offer is accepted and another buyer comes around with a better one (or simply more cash), don’t assume that your deal is over before it even starts.
Find out what features about your original offer are attractive to other buyers and add them back into your revised bid—it may be enough for you to keep from losing out again.
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